9th place Jade Tree United took on the 4th place Gunners at the Kirkwood complex late on Wednesday, February 15.
Jade Tree, who were fresh off of their first win of the season, were eager to further improve their standings when they met the Gunners for the first time this season.
The match began with the teams sussing each other out, and neither team was very impressive throughout the first ten minutes.
That would soon change as Gunners broke free of the JTU defenses and scored their first of the night.
It wasn’t long before Mike Hoffman powered up front, running the length of the pitch up the left side, breaking into the Gunner’s box, and firing off a shot to put Jade Tree on the board.
The Gunners worked hard at spreading JTU and were able to significantly alter the score by using this tactic to easily score three goals in a row.
After a handball call on the Gunners, Jade Tree was rewarded a penalty kick. Mike Hoffman took the kick and received his second of the night.
As the Gunners worked their long-ball game, securing two more goals along the way, Jade Tree struggled with their form, switching players in and out of position, and hoping to retain some semblance of form.
Alex Milne scored late in the half, as he put the ball up top-only to watch the Gunner’s â€˜keeper fumble the save and send the ball tumbling into the net.
The second half began at a 6-3 and the Gunners were quick to capitalize on a weakened Jade Tree, scoring effortlessly within five minutes of the start.
Jade Tree was successful in bringing the ball forward, but the shots were not finding the net.
Clearly outplayed, Jade Tree pulled back to manage its defenses, but this only compounded the problem, as it did not allow for a serious attacking mentality.
The end could not come quick enough for Jade Tree, who were beaten 12-3 in their second to last match of the season.
The JTU players, who have recently complained about how they have been portrayed in the press, were eager to say their peace after the match. “I felt that we were outplayed by Gunners. No matter what we did, we were unable to make the passes that we need to.” said Mike Leyva. Al Agra, who has yet to score this season commented, “I know that we lost our shape early in the game, but without naming names, I know it wasn’t my fault.”
The tone became more ominous as the interviews continued. “If this team doesn’t â€˜take it to the next level’, then there is a good chance that I will not be playing here next year” stated Mike Hoffman. “I’ve been contacted by both the Wanderers and Hooters FC. Those teams clearly know how to put plays together.”
Mike Reed seemed to echo this sentiment. “With my career going was well as it is, I need to be on a team where I get more scoring chances and playing time. I’m not able to get into a scoring mode here. Additionally, I’m tired of this league’s leniency towards player on player violence. The level of fouling is ridiculous. I thought that they called this the â€˜beautiful game.’”
Manager Darren Walters doesn’t fear however, “The team has just suffered a serious defeat. They are not going to be thinking with clear heads. Especially with the way that the press has been writing about them.” Regarding his job security as Manager for JTU, Walters issued this statement “I’m going to be here year after year. For myself, the players-and most of all-the Jade Tree United supporters.